Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) participated in an “Immigrants’ Rights Community Forum” in her district Tuesday where she spoke out against the “alt-right, white agenda, this white supremacist agenda" which "unfortunately is in the White House" that "we see as part of the policy agenda and so we’ve got to work to resist it.” She also condemned the “No to Marxism in America” rally, supposed to take place in Berkeley Sunday, saying the district is “the heart and soul of the right to free speech and that does not mean hate speech.” Lee also gave remarks against the rally in a “United Against Hate” press conference with local officials earlier Tuesday.
The “No to Marxism in America” rally was organized by Amber Cummings, a self-described transgender patriot, who told reporters Tuesday that white supremacists are not welcome at her event and that “it’s a free speech rally.”
“Marxism is being taught at UC Berkeley and anti-American thought,” Cummings said. “I’m not safe to walk down a road with the American flag.”
Cummings also said, “Show me any white supremacist group that accepts a transgender…Neo Nazis would not stand with someone like me,” and “no violence will be tolerated.”
Cummings pointed out that the rally had been created in June, months before the Charlottesville rally.
Rep. Lee claimed that “the planned demonstration by white supremacists represents a fundamental challenge to our community values regardless of how organizers characterize it.”
“Not on our watch are we going to allow hatred and bigotry to permeate our communities,” Lee added. She called for fighting against hatred with “beautiful demonstrations of solidarity.”
“Let us demonstrate our progressive Berkeley values in how we respond to this challenge,” she said. “This is the home of the peace movement. Let us be peaceful.”
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin said they will continue to refer to the rally as a white supremacist event because "from what we’re seeing, people like Richard Spencer and Kyle Chapman — very sort of 'alt-right leaders' — that have been in Berkeley have said that they intend to come this weekend. We don’t know how many people are going to come, we just have to be prepared as a community and keep our community safe and we’ll do that this weekend."
Mercury News, describing the event as a “far-right protest,” reported last week that Richard Spencer and others involved with groups that participated in the Charlottesville rally planned to attend.
“The alt-right, the neo-Nazis, the Klan, the white supremacists, they think that they’re going to win this but they’re not,” Rep. Lee said Tuesday of the upcoming event.
“We in this community, we’re the heart and soul of the peace and justice movement, we’re the heart and soul of the nonviolent movement and we are not going to allow them to come into our communities and cause havoc,” she said.
“This weekend we are working to make sure that all of the public safety concerns are addressed but also that people remember we’re once again the heart and soul of the right to free speech and that does not mean hate speech and that does not mean bringing weapons, that does not mean bringing public safety concerns that would intimidate and cause violence in our communities and so we’re united against hate.”